Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

Four Welsh writers shortlisted for top literary prize 

Two poets, a professor and a short story writer have been shortlisted for one of Wales' top literary prizes to be awarded next month. The four authors will be vying for the £3,000 Roland Mathias Prize for Welsh writing in English, which will be awarded on 8 April. 

The biennial prize is awarded for a work published during the last two years in the field of poetry, short stories, literary criticism or Welsh history. To qualify, the author must live, or have been born, in Wales. 

Oliver Reynolds, who is an usher at the Royal Opera House in London, is shortlisted for his latest collection of poetry, Hodge (published by Arete). Oliver Reynolds was born in Cardiff and is the author of five volumes of poetry in all. Hodge is described as "an enjoyable, witty and weighty collection, which should direct a spotlight or two back on its talented author". 

Ruth Bidgood has been shortlisted for her latest collection of poems, Time Being (published by Seren). In a career spanning more than 40 years, Ruth, who lives in Powys, has published 12 volumes of poetry, and this is the second time she has been shortlisted for the Roland Mathias Prize. Her descriptions in Time Being are credited as "sharp and memorable, tending to a cool accuracy". 

Huw Lawrence is selected for his collection of short stories, Always The Love Of Someone (published by Alcemi). Huw, who lives in Aberystwyth, has won a number of prizes for individual short stories, but this is his first collection to be published. It contains 15 stories about relationships, exploring the nuances of class, exile and old age with a tone described as "subtly upbeat". 

Professor Wynn Thomas is shortlisted for a study of the relationship between chapel and literature in Wales, In Shadow Of The Pulpit: Welsh Writers And Welsh Nonconformity (published by the University of Wales Press). Professor Thomas holds the Emyr Humphreys Chair of Welsh Writing in English at Swansea University. Central to this book is "the struggle between preacher and writer for the soul of Welsh culture". 

The winner for 2011 will be announced on Friday 8 April in Brecon at a ceremony supported by BBC Cymru Wales and hosted by Nicola Heywood Thomas, presenter of The Radio Wales Arts Show. All the shortlisted writers are invited to talk about their work.  

Keith Jones, Director of BBC Cymru Wales, said: "The Roland Mathias Prize is a celebration of the strength of Wales' literary talent and it is a tribute to these four fine Welsh writers that their work has been shortlisted for such a prestigious award."

The prize was established in honour of the poet and author, Roland Mathias, who died in 2007, and who played a major part in establishing Welsh writing in English as a distinctive literary genre. The three previous winners were the poets Christine Evans and Dannie Abse, and Jane Aaron for a work of literary history. 

The judges include novelist and poet Chris Meredith; literary historian Moira Dearnley; writer Catherine Merriman; writer and critic, Daniel Williams, and former TV journalist, Glyn Mathias


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